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Emma, Vol. 1 Hardcover – May 19, 2015
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About the Author
Kaoru Mori's previous series, Emma, about a maid and a gentleman in Victorian England, has been lauded by Library Journal and was named to the YALSA Great Graphic Novels list. A Bride's Story has only broadened her fan base in Japan and the U.S. with its elegant style and delicate story.
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Top customer reviews
As to the story, I also enjoy reading it. I'm a fan of Austen, Bronte, Gaskell, etc so I no doubt like this kind of story in manga form written by Mori-san. I look forward to discovering the manga story since I've heard it differs from the anime story.
Volume one of the series contains the first seven chapters of the eventual fifty-two and focuses on basic introductions. We meet the shy, but kind and intellegent, Emma, the exotic Hakim, prim Mrs.Stowner, the somewhat daft and dashing Young Master Jones... the list goes on.
Pretty much every character we see, be they the main focus or the bit part side characters, will show up many times throughout the series, and not just as filler. Every single character has a point to them, whether it be to show some side of Victorian Society or to help a more important character (or even just the reader) figure something out about the story at large. I really must applaud Mori for this.
The art is superb, with a strict attention to details and architecture. There's something about the way Mori draws that lends elegance to her character's features. Despite the fact that Emma and Eleanor are considered beautiful, they're not drawn in the typical manner associated with beauty in manga... in fact, they're quite atypical if you compare them to other manga... but, in the spirit, mood, and fasion in which they ARE drawn, you cannot help but see them as so.
The pacing is just right for this sort of quiet courtship... slow and delicate, with an emphasis on subtlety that makes you feel like you're sharing a well reasoned secret with Kelly as she watches the two grow closer.
In the translator's/author's notes/bio at the end of the volume, a point was made that CMX has decided to bring over the series untouched. I assume that means it will be unedited, and am glad and hopeful that my guess is right. FAIR WARNING; in the later volumes there will be some female nudity as there are two, perhaps three bath scenes with several characters that have yet to be introduced. Parents should know of those, though I consider it to be quite tasteful.
There are only two things I didn't like about the release... one, was a choice the author made in the creation. There's a scene late in this volume where the reality breaks down a little and several characters, in typical fashion, have animals hovering near them that represent their current moods. It's generally a good emotive tool, but in a title that strives to portray a reality fairly strictly, this seems out of place. It's a fairly MINOR beef, and hardly noticeable, but I thought I'd mention it.
The other issue was a production one... in particular, the paper stock that CMX used. Perhaps it was done for affect, to make it seem aged (as it is a period piece), but the texture and color of the pages are off... too rough and off-white. It kind of washes out the art and makes it lose crispness. The cover too, is off odd consistency. I just recieved my copy yesterday and already it is starting to bow seriously, in spite of the care I've taken not to bend the spine in reading it. I really wish they used the heavy stock, at least on the cover, like the job they did on Megatokyo's fourth volume. Oh well.
My final recommendation is to BUY THIS BOOK... and every volume after. It's a short series, so it won't take too much of a bite out of your budget, and is WELL WORTH the investment. This is one of the few manga titles that I would include under the heading of LITERATURE... it's just that damn good, in story, character and rendition.
The art, while seemingly simple, has amazing detail in every frame, from the architecture to to the mantle piece. Kaoru Mori went the extra mile in placing historically accurate events and items into a not as of yet cliched tale.
Emma is a love story between members of different classes in an time when social status meant everything. Emma herself is a maid, and a certain young noble gentleman and she shouldn't be thinking about each other the way they are.
The era is obviously well researched and carefully reproduced, and I can certainly see the overall quality, but I'm having trouble getting into Emma. I like slice of life stories in general and can handle a slow pace if I'm drawn in, but I found the first volume surprisingly boring here. So far it doesn't have the charm of Mori's other maid related work Shirley, I don't know enough about the characters to really care about the romance, and I've read so many other things set in Victorian England the setting alone isn't catching my attention.
The art is Mori's usual, which is to say incredible. Not as intricate as her later work on A Bride's Story, but just as impressive and lovingly done. It's clear she put a ton of effort into getting the details right.
Overall not bad but so far I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as her other work and am in no hurry to read more. I wish I had liked it more, but so it goes. If you're more into pure romance stories and/or less familiar with Victorian times than me I can see this being a lot more engaging.
Most recent customer reviews
Mori's first manga series, set in England circa 1885, is your typical upstairs/downstairs romance, with all...Read more